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Investment Key in Adapting to Climate Change in West Africa

08:24 EDT 14 Mar 2017 | Meridian Institute

A new study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, finds that while climate change is likely to have negative impacts on food production in West Africa, strategic planning by decision makers could help alleviate food security challenges in the region. West Africa is a major producer of cassava, millet and sorghum. Future projections show the region may not be able to meet growing demand for food and livestock feed. “How and to what extent the region’s agricultural sector develops in the future will have profound implications for the livelihoods of millions of people,” said researcher Amanda Palazzo, with the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). She continues: “In some ways, West Africa is at the mercy of changes in the rest of the world—there is not much that people can do to stop global change on a local level. Our study shows that indeed, socioeconomic development and climate change in the rest of the world will affect West Africa. But that doesn’t mean that policymakers are powerless to avoid the impacts. We found that food security in the region could improve even under the threat of climate change if the region takes a coordinated and long-term approach to investment and development.” As part of the study, the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Palazzo and colleagues from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI) developed a package of scenarios specific to West Africa that provides descriptions of potential future developments in an effort to provide policymakers a way to test draft plans and policies. “This is quite unique. Often, the process ends after stakeholders and modelers finish envisioning scenarios through words and numbers. However, we design processes that allow policymakers to identify actions that are necessary to avoid potential problems or actions to take that have a good chance of yielding desirable results in all potential futures,” said Joost Vervoort, the scenarios officer for CCAFS and a senior researcher at the ECI.

Original Article: Investment Key in Adapting to Climate Change in West Africa

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